We have to briefly mention what we mean.
Last year we posted our final 53-man roster prediction, based on a series of "Locks" that were added into our overall prediction throughout the preseason. Early on we announced our locks with guys like Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, Dhani Jones, Rey Maualuga while adding players as the preseason lumbered on.
We do it this way because, rather than providing a baseless prediction today which doesn't factor future injuries, rising stars and depreciating talents, we allow the preseason to unfold while making our roster prediction using the accuracy of known reports. We could just predict the entire roster right now. But since it's not a game show and since it's completely a subjective point of view from the author, we're going with the more informed route. Players will be added throughout the rest of the preseason into our locks and we'll see at the end of the day how accurate our prediction is. You can check out last year's final post and prediction -- which fell like two players short.
First we have to go through our existing locks. Let's start with quarterback.
Quarterback (2): Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski
The obvious is that apparent. Cincinnati will keep their second-round pick Andy Dalton and their veteran quarterback Bruce Gradkowski on the roster; which is what we'd call a "lock" to happen when the final roster is announced the weekend prior to Cincinnati's regular season opener on September 11. Whether or not it's Dalton or Gradkowski starting, we can't say; only both quarterbacks will be on the 2011 roster in some fashion.
What's not apparent is the third and final quarterback spot on the roster, easily open for competition between Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour. We imagine that preseason won't be much of a model to grade both quarterbacks whom are playing late during preseason games with and against guys that are fighting for final spots on the roster or at least a practice squad mention. Since this is about locks to make the roster and not overall predictions, it wouldn't cause any issues if we made one assumed scenario. On the sidelines with Andy Dalton, Palmer was one of the guys going through photographs of previous possessions with the rookie. Having another set of eyes will only go to help Dalton's accelerated development and that could be the mark that helps Palmer.